Friday, November 18, 2011

China Expands Airbase On Coco Island

That arrestingly beautiful piece of land is Greater Coco Island in the Bay of Bengal, a part of India's Andaman & Nicobar Islands union territory. It is one of only a tiny constellation of islands that belongs to Myanmar. Greater Coco has for long been known to be managed by Chinese, with reports over two decades of signal intelligence facilities, maritime bases, a radar facilities (which is, apparently, all but confirmed) and as a general surveillance hub to keep tabs on Indian military activity (which only really began in a big way in 2001 with the setting up of the Andaman & Nicobar Command at Port Blair).

While I was on assignment on the Andaman Islands earlier this month, there was plenty of talk about how the Chinese were expanding Greater Coco island's airstrip into a modern air base. The Google Earth grab above gives you a splendid view of the runway that the Chinese appear to have built (my sources say the base is close to completion).

Indian threat perceptions aside, this airfield has got to afford one of the most scenic landings of any airport I can think of. What a beauty.



24 comments:

@onlysilly said...

excellent job shiv , but can we wait few days , hope our fellows have learn from 62 , this time b can b friend but friends must have to be equal or respectful to each other ,or share same goal , with provision if one back stab

Jake Lor said...

This is why Indian military are modernize their military because of Chinese military growing threat in the region.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, and India are worrying about it.

Jake Lor said...

Indian military modernizations:(2008-Future)

ARMY:
-72 5th Gen. Medium Combat Aircraft aka MCA
-22 or 44 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III
-15 CH-47F Chinook or Mi-26M Halo
-160 Ka-226 or Eurocopter AS550C3
-65 Light Combat Helicopter aka LCH
-145 M777A2
-1,647 T-90S upgraded to T-90M and also equipped with Saab's LEDS-150 active protection system.
-1,925 T-72M1 upgraded by Raytheon
-124 Arjun upgraded Arjun Mark-II

AIR FORCE:
-10 C-17A Globemaster III
-12 CC-130J Super Hercules
-45 IL-214 MTA
-250 Su-50MKI 5th Gen Stealth Multirole fighter.
-126 Dassault Rafale B or Eurofighter Typhoon T1.
-125 Jaguar upgraded with F125IN.
-150 Mig-27 are upgrade and modernize
-36 Mirage 2000H upgraded and modernize
-06 A-50EI Phalcon AWACS
-24 DRDO AEW&CS
-200 Jaguar Mk II
-80 Mi-17-V5
-? Brahmos-A

NAVY:
-41 Mig-29K Navy Fulcrum with French TopSight HMD
-40 Navy Teja Mk II
-12 P-8I Neptune
-06 E-2D Advance Hawkeye
-45 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II
-32 Mk-54 Lightweight Torpedoes
-01 INS Vikramaditya
-01 INS Vikrant
-? BrahMos II

Anonymous said...

Its time to retake Coco islands from Myanmar.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Nehru gift that island to Burma, before military takeover?

Anonymous said...

Another Nehru Gift to(Burma)and the Chinese

Anonymous said...

We dont take any lessons from our history........

Ram said...

THe new command set up in Andaman and Nicobar Island would be sufficient enought to counter this Chinese threat. One single strip at Coco islands should not be of such great concern. However, yes, we do need to keep a tab on the what is happening on that island.

Anonymous said...

i have seen this 3 years back same screen on google. if i were burmese minister i see tourism $$$ it got beutiful tuqoise blue water.. good snorkelling spot. Only stupid will make military base there!!

Rahul said...

Well Chinese have nothing but a fixed air craft carrier in Bay of Bengal and lest it will do is draw a good percentage of Navy resources in monitoring this. More than threat, these are basically attention and resources diversion tactics by China which is guess is meant to weaken Navy's blue water strength.

I hope, our spine-less government steps up diplomatic work(if it gets time from corruption) otherwise this and similar could bleed us in similar way as Chinese occupation of Tibet did.

Anonymous said...

@ Arun rajkumar l

first of all great thanks to shiv and HT for bringing this long lost high pottential threat to mainstream.

To those lullabys who thinks is just a small pice of land ....just search string of pearls in google.....

That old nehru shit with no future concern threw this to myanmar like he did in 62........

Now u defend nehru for his freedom struggle......lol i am of a firm beliver that india got freedom because of 2nd world war the sacrifices of people like bhagat sing.....biritish new if they stay it will be hard for them to keep up....as they suffered most in 2nd war......

Now to coco.......if india is concerned abt its future in indian ocean high time has passed

Anonymous said...

If it comes to scenic beauty I like agatti airport.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. The UPA government may be spineless and inept in international and defence matters, as well as corrupt, criminal and apathetic, but they are SICKULAR(At least they claim to be, please remain semi-literate and forget about the 100+ communal incidents under Congress rule since 1947).

Being SICKULAR qualifies them to triumph against China! After all with that alone they triumped in election after election!

Anonymous said...

Shiv, Google Agatti in the lakshadweep group, that is surreal too.

For that matter though there are no pictures [even from you] :) of Car nicobar and Campbell bay. They must be awesome places to land too.

Shiv Aroor said...

anons@1.47pm & 4.14pm: Not only have I landed (twice) at Agatti -- and you're right, it is absolutely stunning -- I have also written about the Air Force's proposal to extend the runway to the Kalpati atoll nearby. See here:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iaf-game-for-extending-agatti-airstrip/25229/0

sahanshu said...

@Shiv Aroor - are the chinese trying to replicate Diego Garcia???
The situation looks very similar.....u got any stuff (inside story ) on that.

Anonymous said...

India will be still sleeping. Similar Strategy has been adopted by the chinese in maldives to snatch the Lakshadweep island from india. Very soon The andaman & nicobar will be the ex-island of India.

Anonymous said...

If there was any courageous and spineful leader like ahmednijad of iran, we wont lose any PoK, any Aksai Chin and those land, nehru and others gave to other countries and instead might try to claim other countries land as ours...

Pak, china, terrorists, maoists and other countries would never have the courage to bully india.

I dont think we will ever witness in our lifetime, india ruled by a powerful and spineful leader like ahmednijad..

Hoping and dreaming of the day when we retake our lost lands...

Gautam said...

Anon @ 3:20AM

Narendra Modi is your answer. The only Indian leader alive with the balls to make India an international power.

Of course, he (according to Congress-manipulated CBI investigations that are yet to turn up a shred of concrete evidence) responsible for 2002 riots, and is not 'sickular', so the ignorant scum that is the majority of the Indian public will never vote for him.

Your votes are only reserved for the likes of Rajiv Gandhi(Who got re-elected with a staggering majority after 1984 anti-Sikh riots by scum public of India), Laloo, Mulayam, Mayawati, Chidambaram, Maran, Karunanidhi, Maino and assorted criminals, thieves and mass-murderes who commit only 'secular' crimes.

BTW please take a moment to punch your thick skulls to erase the memories of anti-Sikh, Kashmiri pundit, Rajasthan, Nellie, Malliana-Hashimpura, Jamshedpur, Moradabad, Hyderabad etc riots, massacres and genocides happening under Congress rule since independence so you can continue singing how 'secular' and better than BJP they are...

Robin said...

I don't find any information on this Nehru handing over the Coco islands to Burma business. There's only 1 unsubstantiated claim by George Fernandes.

From the looks of it when Burma was administering these islands from way before independence.

Gautam said...

In any case India should have annexed the Coco Islands to prevent it from being used against them. Given we annexed Sikkim for the same reason we could have done it; Myanmar wouldn't have complained if we handed over some border territory for these uninhabited and otherwise useless islands.

Anonymous said...

i think china do commando operation in island just like isrile do in ezpt be awre indian army AF

Anonymous said...

Hi All

Thank u for the info that u all have posted. However I do see couple of mistakes in this form

1.It was not given by Nehru as stated by George fernandes.

2.Coca Island is not a chinese base. www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=6640.


Yes China is a big threat ti India. But i am very much sure that it does not have any military base in coca island.

Infact China does not even have a base outside of its country.

Praveen Choudhary said...

only narendra modi is the who give a proper answer to china, and improve the biggest mistake of nehru